Saturday, May 20, 2017

Singing, and running in the rain.

Oh Lovely Rain!
Bundled Up
 Another rainy morning in Iowa.   But Cheryl did not let that hold her back.   Today was one of those rare days where we started scoring later in the day ( noon) and had a few extra hours to run a bit longer.   No measly downpour  was going to keep her from that!

Diving in.

In addition to the rain, the temps have fallen almost 20 degrees.  Making for a rather wet AND cold run.  But that is the Runner's Favorite Running weather.  If only I could say the same about biking alongside her.
Rain picks up

The Flowers seem to stand out in the rain


Luckily I had my Goretex.  And a change of clothes for after the run.  I still managed to get my shoes and socks completely soaked.


She's Singin' 
And Dancin' .... in the rain.
The rain helped point out a few flowers that Cheryl noted.  I'm not sure why the sun seems to keep them hidden,  but I thought I would at  least stop and take a few pics of them.


All this rain made me think about one of my  favorite Movie.   Gene Kelly Singing in the Rain.   This is one of those ICON movies that define a time for me.   Call me a romantic...but I love Musicals.  I manage to track down this clip. ( my favorite)  Enjoy!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Stormy Days in Iowa

Wind and Rain and Hail..Oh My!
Yesterday,  a cold front came through with all the Panic and Hoopla that any Weather Channel junkie would swoon for.   The day started out fine, but mid-afternoon, the sirens blared and the phones beeped with warnings and emergencies.
30 minutes before the storm

It was a strange sight. The sun was out, and the air was calm.  There was only a small dark cloud in the distance that hinted at a storm.  The warning was for about a half hour, so we continued to score.
Dark skies in the distance.


Eventually the storm arrived and blew  some strong gusts.   Nothing terrible...no downed trees or branches.  The rain was pretty strong too.   We even got a little bit of pea-sized hail!  Fun!

Rain!  Glorious Rain!   I think this is what is mean by "coming down in Sheets!"

Thankfully only pea sized.
Ice in the hand
I'm happy that we did not lose power, have a tree fall on us or have the hail bash our car.  Subie is old enough without being battered by Mother Nature.

Cheryl runs
Better than THIS!
Other than that, the battle to score as much as possible continues.   Both Cheryl and I have had full weeks.   I have not been able to finish the tune up on Subie because of the lack of time.   We still manage to squeeze in an early morning run as well, although the distance is usually shorter.

Wardrobe change
Through the hills.
Speaking of the tune up!   I think my cleaning out the throttle body worked!   I really need to do a "complete job" though.   And perhaps I will have the opportunity this weekend.

 In the mean time, Subie no longer stalls at stop signs and idles consistently around 700 rpms.   The gas pedal sticks now, and I'm sure it is because of my "expedient clean" job.   I really need to take the throttle completely off for a proper cleaning.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Helping the Subaru Breathe.

Nothing like breathing bugs!
Idle Control Valve
 Subie has been a handful as of late.   First it was the brakes; then the Oxygen sensor,  now it is the Idle Control valve.  ( Or so we think.)   And that is really the real problem.   We "think" it is this or that because of his behavior.   Basically,  is stalls at fuel up and early morning stop signs.   Then, around mid afternoon,  he runs fine....except when he "hesitates" randomly.  These problems are similar to going to a doctor and saying your tummy aches.  ( It could be so many things!)

Removed and Cleaned it. 
Add some Throttle Cleaner to the intake
So Cheryl and I have been slowly narrowing the list of "possible problems" down.   From Idle valve to the  Air Filter, we have been combing the Subaru Forums and asking Andy all kinds of questions.  We even took it to the Mechanics in Iowa City!   All they did was clean out the idle valve and send us on our way.  It did not seem to help much.



Hmm,  Slightly dirtier than expected.
And wipe off the soot. 
We are aware that the possible and most likely probable cause for this "fussiness" could be that it is simply an "Older" car. ( moving up to 14 years old now)  But we have an understanding and dependence on Subie now.    So we shall do our best to patch things up as best we can.   Kinda like Grandpa!   A soft bed, TV, and a bowl of Jello is all he needs to make him comfortable. ( and happy!)

Time to bring out the toothbrush.
probably should have removed it.
So today's task was to clean out the Air intake. and Idle valve.  I had already taken the idle valve off and found it to be completely gummed up with a thick black paste.  We bought some carburetor   cleaner and I commenced to scrubbing.




The old one still looks good though. 
New Air filter
I also cleaned up the air intake ducts and replaced the air filter.  I believe I could have done a better job on the Air Intake throttle body.  I probably should have removed it totally to get all of that crud off of the other side.   However,  there is a possibility that the hoses are old and I did not want to break any.   If the job shows promise, I may do a better job later.  It beats buying a new one. (somewhere between $200-400!) I figure a little carb cleaner and a toothbrush can save me a little cash.
Perfectly dropped socket.


Just out of reach!  Lovely....
So I put everything together and took it out for a run.  I should note here that there is nothing quite like dropping your only 12 mm socket smack dab in the middle under the car!   Just out of reach from all sides!


An "after" picture.   I still see lots of room for improvement. 
After a bit of a slow start ( the carb cleaner flooded the engine.) I managed to get the idle to remain consistent and it seems to have a little more pick up.   Cheryl suggested we take it to fuel up....which still caused it to stall.   However, after getting it started  again, it remained functioning properly.   Tomorrow morning will be the true test.

Cheryl sports her New Shorts!

Boston Marathon on Everything! 

A Rose Breasted Grosbeak.

I don't know if they are common,  But I they are rare to me. 

Too bad we did not capture  better pics of him.  Maybe next time. 




Other than that,  we have been running, scoring, and I have seen two Grosbeaks!  One came to my bird feeder!



 I was so excited that I could not yell out the words to Cheryl.   Her quick thinking allowed us to get these pictures of him.   Not the best, granted, but normally we see them ( if we are lucky) on one of the trails and they are zipping by at light speed.  He ended up coming to the bird feeder twice yesterday, so maybe it will be possible that he will set up shop and become a resident.  I'll keep an eye out.

Thought I might have seen the hummingbird, but the jury is still out.  I'm expecting them to come around any day now.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

14 miles at Kewash.

Coralville Three miles
Early mornings.
With a slight break in the scoring season,  Cheryl has been itching to squeeze in a long run before the heat of Summer overtakes our running schedule.   Normally we have to set aside a weekend or holiday for such things.   And Cheryl only wants to run in the cool of the morning.  This forces us to run in Coralville.   And only about three miles at a time.
Coralville Dam and bridge
Rain creates gentle waterfalls.

To be fair, the Iowa sun does tend to heat things up rapidly.  I started off with my light jacket, only to remove it about three miles in. Thankfully there was a light breeze blowing cool morning air.

Cheryl prepares for 14 miles!


High Blue Prairie Grass.






As mentioned int he title,  we decided to go back to Kewash.   Sure, there is no river out there, but it has been a while since we visited that area and thought it would be a nice day to give it a go.  Plus it is far closer than Muscatine and it has been several days since it has rained... Meaning the trail will probably be nice and dry.
Running into the sun

And down the path
This was the first time we experienced to new parking spot during the "non-winter" months.  I'm not sure what the grasses are, but I would guess either wheat or rye.  (I'm not a farmer, and even though I took various Botany classes, we never had to ID the all of the grasses.) But there was a lot of it around the parking area and trail entrance.
Chasing Rabbits.



Or racing.....and winning.
 Cheryl ran at a fairly fast pace...for a training run.  She was wondering why it seemed so difficult today...and then she looked at her Garmin.  I was just happy we did not have a melt down on the first day back.

The rabbits were back.   Same as every spring.  Even around our apartment, there are several "new" furry faces hopping around the yard.  I think these guys seem a little friendlier than last years.   Several times the rabbits ran right past me.   Cheryl almost stepped on one!

Cheryl smearing sunscreen on the Subie.
Final approach 
We listened to music for the majority of the run.  (Something we have not been able to do since Boston, I think.) And when it was finally over, Cheryl felt as if she had accomplished something good.  Yeah!   I'm glad we were able to come back to Kewash and have a good experience right out of the gate.   Perhaps we will have to integrate this path back into the rotation, along with Davenport and Muscatine.  We shall see.

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